The Maryland State Board of Education on Tuesday will hold a virtual meeting to discuss State Superindent Dr. Karen Salmon’s recommendation to establish a minimum number of hours for synchronous and asynchronous learning for all 24 school systems, all of which are beginning the year virtually.
Synchronous learning is online or distance learning between a teacher and students that occurs in a face to face environment or in a virtual classroom setting. Asynchronous learning occurs through online channels without real-time interaction.
“I believe that every child deserves to have a high-quality education every day of the school year, that means 5 days a week and 6 hours a day,” Dr. Salmon said last week. “During the time of virtual learning, at least 3.5 hours daily of that time – should be guided synchronously by a teacher. Setting this standard is the only way to assure an equitable education for all children across our state.”
Under Superintendent Salmon’s proposal, all 24 school systems would be required to implement the following recommendations for synchronous and asynchronous learning by September 28:
In a statement, Cheryl Bost, President of the Maryland State Education Association — which represents 75,000 educators and is the state’s largest union — said that no major mandated scheduling changes should be implemented until after the first quarter.
“After months of silence and zero guidance from the State Board—in just a few weeks, systems, schools, and families across the state will need to rip up the schedules and plans they’ve spent months developing to meet these new targets,” Bost said.
“The school year is beginning, and educators, parents, and students need stability and time to focus on teaching and learning. Instead, the state is trying to make reckless and arbitrary decisions that will make the first days and weeks of an already stressful start of school even more chaotic and confusing.”
The Board will also consider mandating that school systems incorporate some in-person learning by the end of the first quarter. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Governor Larry Hogan last week said that his administration would “put pressure” on local school systems to reevaluate reopening plans and include some form of in-person learning.
The Board will broadcast Tuesday’s meeting via live stream on YouTube.